February 9, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

Metro Manila Film Festival 2022: Keeping Up with the Florencio Family

By Michelle Anne P. Soliman, reporter

Movie review
family matters
Directed by Nuel Crisostomo Naval
MTRCB Rating: G

MANAGING aging in the midst of modern family life is at the heart of Nuel Naval’s family affairs.

Francisco (played by Noel Trinidad) and Eleanor (Liza Lorena) moved into their family home as newlyweds, and a time-lapse montage of their growing family – two sons and two daughters – sets the stage.

The story itself is set in the modern day, with the older Eleanor calling for help as Francisco suddenly has trouble breathing, followed by a scene in the hospital where all four children arrive – unmarried daughter Ellen (Nikki Valdez), the eldest daughter Fortune (Mylene Dizon). ) and the youngest (JC Santos). The eldest son, Kiko (Nonie Buencamino), arrives last. The family learns that Francisco had suffered an asthma attack.

When the siblings insist that a caregiver or nurse be hired for emergencies, the old man firmly rejects the idea, saying he is still able to take care of himself. In order to be better able to look after the well-being of their elderly parents, the siblings take turns welcoming them into their own four walls. The only one who escapes is Ellen, who flies to the US to meet her boyfriend.

The elderly couple then move from house to house and slowly get to know the dynamics of the families. Situations don’t always go well, as the couple fear it could be a strain – their children have to hire extra staff, fix up the guest room and be on the lookout for anything they need.

Running at two hours and 15 minutes, the film feels like watching a reality show in movie format. In contrast to the usual dramatic problems and complicated plots of a typical Filipino drama series, the film depicts realistic everyday life and problems within a family. These include sibling rivalry (the youngest feeling insecure about his accomplishments), not getting along with in-laws and only being honest with their partners, a temperamental father’s misunderstanding with his teenage son, and moments when older people can get stubborn.

Noel Trinidad and Liza Lorena are a very beautiful couple on screen. It’s fun to watch their sweet chemistry. In most of her scenes, they hold hands tightly – the viewer would wish they could find a mate and grow old with them, like the couple on screen. If the festival awards had the Best Onscreen Couple category, I think they would win it.

Mel Mendoza del Rosario’s screenplay is light comedy; In emotional or sentimental moments, however, things get dramatic. The comedic lines land very well and aren’t spasmodic.

Family Matters teaches the importance of valuing, making time for, and communicating with your family, not just because a family member needs help or becomes ill. The film does that well without preaching.

It was enjoyable as my third Christmas Day screening. I left the theater with a smile.